Mowbray Doorstop Interview

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Tuesday, 20th July 2021

Mowbray Doorstop Interview

with Labor Candidate for Bass Ross Hart

SUBJECTS: Vaccine rollout is a race; China cyber attacks, Visit to Tasmania, Election, candidates


ROSS HART, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BASS: Good morning, everybody. Welcome here to Northern Suburbs Medical Practice here in Northern Tasmania. I'm very pleased to welcome Anthony Albanese here to Northern Tasmania here to the electorate of Bass. And I thank Dr. Andrew Jackson from Northern Suburbs Medical Practice for inviting us into his practice to see what he's doing to advance the cause of vaccination for COVID here in Northern Tasmania, welcome Anthony.

DR ANDREW JACKSON, PRINCIPAL PRACTITIONER, NORTHERN SUBURBS MEDICAL SERVICE: Not being a politician, I don't have a great deal to say, so I warmly welcome Mr. Albanese here today, and Ross Hart. It's great to see federal politicians coming to ordinary general practices in the suburbs to see how they're going. How are we going? We're soldiering on in general practice around Australia and here, getting the job done. I think that earlier this year, a federal politician said there was no race to vaccinate Australia. I disagreed with that then, and I say now, the race is on to vaccinate Australia. 
When we look at the United Kingdom, what they've done, what they're doing what they did, starting on Freedom Day yesterday. It's something we're going to have to look at, and we're going to have to push on and get Australia vaccinated. It's happening in a number of places, but it's happening everywhere in Australia, through general practices like this one. Already halfway through the winter vaccination season, we've exceeded all the vaccinations we did in the entire flu vaccination last year. We have five interlocking vaccinations to try and organise. Astra One. Astra Two, influenza, Pfizer One which has arrived in general practice quite unexpectedly, when Pfizer said we didn't have to freeze the vaccine, Pfizer number two. And of course, it's been announced that there's going to be a Pfizer catch up vaccine later in the year. So we've essentially got six interlocking vaccine arrangements. And it's an extraordinary load on general practice, but with federal government support we're meeting what we'd need to do and the Australian community can rely on general practice in particular, to make sure we get this job done, and maybe even get past Boris's targets in the United Kingdom. Thank you.

JOURNALIST: Can I just get your first and last name as well, please? 

Dr  JACKSON Yes, my name is Andrew Jackson. I'm a general practitioner, and I'm the Practice Principal of Northern Suburbs Medical Service. Thank you.

ANTHONY ALBANESE LABOR LEADER: Well, thanks very much, Andrew. And it's great to be back in Northern Tasmania here in Launceston with Ross Hart, our Labor candidate, who I am very confident will return to my team as part of a Labor government after the next election. Ross Hart is experienced. He is someone who knows this local community and he is someone who will stand up for the local community here.

I also want to give a big shout out to Andrew and indeed to all of the health professionals with GPs, nurses, others in clinics just like this, who are working so hard. The reception is here taking calls making appointment for people to make a difference to people's lives. We know that the rollout of the vaccine is the key to opening up. It always was. The Prime Minister said in January this year at the National Press Club, that this was a priority this year. And then not much happened. It's true that it is a race. Scott Morrison was wrong when he said it wasn't a race. The fact that we're losing that race compared with other developed countries is the reason why half of Australia is locked down today. And my heart goes out to the family of the five people who've lost loved ones. I also take the opportunity to express my condolences to the family and friends of the two people who lost their lives on the road just near here yesterday. I travelled on that very road yesterday and any loss of life is a tragedy, but particularly one that comes through a motor vehicle accident, where it obviously is unexpected by its very nature and is a real shock to the family and friends of those who lost their lives yesterday. Happy to take questions 

JOURNALIST: forty-six and a half per cent of Tasmanians living in disability care have received one COVID-19 vaccination dose, is that good enough?

ALBANESE: Well, the failure of the government, when it comes to meeting its own targets, is just inexplicable. The government said that people in disability care would be fully vaccinated by Easter. That was in March. It's now July and less than half have received any vaccine at all. And over night, we've heard of the example of Gerard Castles, his brother Paul is in disability care. Paul deserves better than this. And what's more Paul's family including his brother, Gerard, who has cared and and looked after his brother deserve better as well. This is a real concern for people. It's something that we've been raising consistently. Bill Shorten, my Shadow Minister for Disability Care, has been raising this every day, month after month. And still we have a circumstance whereby those people in Category 1 A yet to receive vaccines. We have people in disability care, with less than half have even started being vaccinated. Aged Care residents still remain un-vaccinated around the country in various homes. And aged care workers, as of a week ago, just one in six was vaccinated. That's not good enough. These vulnerable people were told they were at the front of the queue. And the truth is that they haven't been, they've been left behind. And Australia, of course, was told that the whole country was at the front of the queue. And we know we're last in the developed world with the rollout of the vaccine. In spite of the incredible work being done at clinics like this one, that have done so much work and are working so hard to look after their local community. 

JOURNALIST: With young people among those hospitalised with COVID-19. is the time to formally make vaccines available to those under 40. 

ALBANESE: Well, I think that absolutely will needs to be considered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. It's very clear that in particular, this new strain does impact more so on younger people, then the strain that we're dealing with last year. So it's very clear that we will need to vaccinate the population. At the moment people who are in those priority categories like people in disability care, people in aged care and the workforce in those areas haven't been vaccinated yet. So that's the problem. The issue here is one of supply and the rollout of the vaccine. The other issue, of course, is the issue of national quarantine. There the two jobs the government had this year. Roll out the vaccine and set up appropriate fit for purpose national quarantine facilities. It's failed on both up to this point,. We need to do much better, because this is a struggle against a moving target. We know that with COVID. That's why you will need booster shots. That's why mRNA vaccines that can be adjusted far more readily is the preferred model going forward. And that's why we need to make sure that we get on top of this. It is a race. We need to acknowledge that and run as fast as we can, because the entire country is being left behind if we don't get this wrong. 

JOURNALIST: Just on issues with China is Australia risking retribution from China by joining other countries in condemning China for its cyber crimes?

ALBANESE: We're right to call out attacks on Australia whether they'd be cyber crimes or other activities that are inappropriate against a sovereign nation. And Australia should always speak up for our national interest and we need to do.

JOURNALIST: So will will calling out China's actions deter them from committing further cyber crimes?

ALBANESE: Well, you have to, you have a responsibility to call out these issues. What's more. we have a responsibility to draw attention in Australia to the threat that cyber security issues have. I received briefings on these issues of a private nature, but what we know is that there have been increased numbers of cyber security issues in Australia over recent years. Companies need to be vigilant. People need to be aware of these issues, they need to seek the advice of the appropriate authorities. Australia has magnificent authorities and expertise and areas like the Australian Signals Directorate, and others related to the cyber security issues are there to give advice to Australians to make sure that companies, and indeed other interests, including government interests are looked after.

JOURNALIST: What's the point of your visit to Tasmania this week is at the start of your federal election campaign.

ALBANESE: Look, I'm a regular visitor to Tassie, I think this is my fourth or fifth visit, this year, at least fourth. I love Tasmania. It's a great state. I like taking the opportunity to engage with people, as I have here at this GP clinic this morning. If you are aiming to represent the country, you've got to know the country and the entire nation. We're a diverse country. Here in Northern Tasmania, I'm very pleased that I was with Chris yesterday, here with Ross today. I will be in a little while with Brian Mitchell. I expect that we'll continue to visit Tasmania I flew into Hobart yesterday. So I think I've done four of the four of the five electorates here in the last 24 hours. But I will be a regular visitor to Tasmania. Tasmania needs a Labor government. They're being left behind, whether it be the failure to actually deliver on road projects and other projects that have been promised, you know, the $25 million that's sitting to deal with urban congestion as part of the Hobart City Deal. The failure to deliver on projects that have been here promised by a government that is that is not focused on the job ahead. 

JOURNALIST: How do you rate Labor's chances of picking up seats here in Tassie?

ALBANESE: Well, I rate them very strong. We have a fantastic candidate here in Ross. He's known to the community. And Chris I was with yesterday. He's engaged. He's experienced as a community services worker. I was with him in Devonport he is a Burnie local. He's a very strong candidate. And of course, as sitting members, strong as well with Julie and Brian. And then of course we have the issue of Clarke, and we will have a candidate there and have a strong campaign.

JOURNALIST: When do you see Tasmania actually going to the polls?

ALBANESE: I've said for a long time, you can go back and at public events have said that the next election will be March 5th. It's just a gut instinct. I think that one of the things about those who were saying they'd be an early election is they haven't been paying attention to Scott Morrison, Scott Morrison delays action. He never leads. Whether it is the bushfires the need for wage subsidies, the need for mental health support the need to roll out the vaccine, the need to deal with gender issues including the reported sexual assault just metres from his own office. What Scott Morrison does is politically manage issues with a 24-hour time frame. He doesn't look ahead and plan and if you're failing to plan, you're planning to fail. And that's what we're seeing now with the failure on the rollout of the vaccine and national quarantine. He only moves when there's an absolute crisis. So the idea that he would move and call an election when all elections in Australia or close is a risk that I never saw him taking. I think when we get to next year, though, the idea that he can shift around on the budget is, I think, something that will be difficult for him to do.

JOURNALIST: Bass and Braddon are two pretty key marginal electorates, beyond COVID what are going to be the issues that define a result those electorates? 

ALBANESE: The need to not leave people behind. So the changes that we've seen in terms of pensions and the proposals from the government to extend constraints in the way that pensioners spend their own money. The issue of aged care where we've seen after eight years of neglect, the idea that it'll get better in the next three years is a triumph of hope over experience. The issue of affordability of childcare, whereby we have a plan for cheaper childcare. The issue of jobs and secure jobs. Australians are increasingly worried about insecure work, the growth of casualisation contracting out the fact that wages haven't increased in Australia. They are all issues that we will be running on here in Northern Tasmania, the issues that make a difference here in Bass and Braddon. As well as the failure of this government to actually deliver on things that they promised last time, that the projects that they said would happen, that haven't even started. I think that the idea that you make an election commitment, and then you have to elect them three or four times to get it delivered, is I think, something that will be rejected. 

JOURNALIST: Here in Bass you're running a candidate that lost to the sitting member at the last election, why do you think that's a good idea? 

ALBANESE: Because Ross Hart, will make a great member again. Ross Hart was a very good member of the caucus and of Parliament. The fact that he has, with my encouragement, it must be said, put his hand up again, to run. I thank him for that. There is always an advantage in someone who is well known in the community. He's known here, everyone in this clinic this morning knows who he is. They know that he will stand up for the interests of the people of Bass, and he'll represent this community. The last time around we obviously weren't successful nationally. I intend to be successful at the next election. I'll be working each and every day to make sure that that we have a Labor government that truly represents Tasmania. I'm a friend of Tasmania. I have a proud record here in Tasmania, including here in the north, of supporting community infrastructure, supporting policies that will assist growth and assist jobs in Tasmania, but will also not leave people behind. 

JOURNALIST: Do you expect your candidate in Clarke to be a woman, given most of your other candidates are men in Tasmania?

ALBANESE: I think we've got we've got a few women in in Tasmania, I think, you know with with Julie and with that our Senate team I was with Anne yesterday. We have Helen Polley who's based here. We have Catryna (Bilyk) and Carol (Brown) in the Senate. We have a fantastic team here in Tasmania. We'll work through who the candidate for Clarke is. Obviously there's potential uncertainty over the sitting member, there's speculation over what he will do and obviously that will have an impact as well. Thanks very much.


ENDS

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Electorate Office

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MARRICKVILLE NSW 2204

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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PO Box 6022
CANBERRA ACT 2600

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Fax: (02) 9564 1734
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Electorate Office

334a Marrickville Road
MARRICKVILLE NSW 2204

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

Parliament House Office

PO Box 6022
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6277 4022
Fax: (02) 6277 8562

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which our offices stand and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge the sorrow of the Stolen Generations and the impacts of colonisation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We also recognise the resilience, strength and pride of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Authorised by Anthony Albanese. 334a Marrickville Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204.